What's hitting the shelves? New beverage launches: from gin NPD to alcohol-free innovations

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Aviation Gin's specialty bottles for the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine film
Aviation Gin's specialty bottles for the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine film

Related tags Npd Gin alcohol-free NABLAB Energy drinks

From specialty gin bottles to alcohol-free cider, we take a look at some of the latest beverage innovations around the globe.

Deadpool & Wolverine

Aviation American Gin is releasing six specialty bottles inspired by the upcoming release of Deadpool & Wolverine film on July 26.

The black glass bottles with red custom strip stamps and metallic details are described as the ‘ultimate collector’s item’ for fans of both the movie and spirit. Offering a nod to the iconic character, each bottle variant showcases one of six distinctive Deadpool icons.

Aviation Gin is co-owned by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds; alongside Diageo.

"Our collaboration with ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ to create this series of bottles is a first-of-its-kind promotion for Aviation American Gin with one of the most iconic characters in pop culture history,” said Ricky Collett, Global & US Brand Director for Aviation American Gin at Diageo. “The custom bottle embodies the irreverent spirit of both brands and showcases our commitment to pushing cultural boundaries and redefining the gin drinking experience."

Spicy margarita


Edinburgh-headquartered Whitebox Cocktails – a ready-to-serve cocktail brand created by bartenders, is expanding its portfolio with a trio of new serves: the Spicy Margarita, Daiquiri, and Vieux Carré.
In keeping with the brand’s signature style, the three new products are full-strength cocktails made with unwavering dedication to the classic cocktail recipes. They bring the Whitebox range to a total of twelve cocktails, which allow customers to effortlessly enjoy an elevated cocktail experience at home.
“Since our successful crowdfunding raise last year, we have been working on developing a series of new cocktails to expand our offering,” commented Ben Iravani, co-founder of Whitebox Cocktails. “It’s no secret that drinkers are seeking out bolder, more complex profiles – just look at the meteoric rise of the Spicy Margarita. These types of flavours are commonplace in cocktail history and many of the classics have big bold flavours and complexity, so we wanted to bring those types of drinks to a wider audience.”
The trio of new cocktails features Spicy Margarita (Tequila, triple sec, lime, coriander, green chilli: 100ml, 20.5% ABV, £5.80 per can); Straight-Up Daiquiri (Rum blend, lime, sugar: 100ml, 26% ABV, £5.50 per can); and XO Vieux Carré (XO brandy, American whiskey, sweet vermouth, herbal liqueur, bitters: 100ml, 30% ABV, £6.80 per can).

Ketone energy drink


KEY, an all-natural energy drink harnessing the power of ketones, has launched in the US with a mission to revolutionize the $62bn energy drink market. 

Co-Founded by two previously-rival execs from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, Karishma Thawani and Tekla Back, KEY offers a clean alternative without the sugar shock or caffeine jitters that give energy drinks a bad rap.

Simultaneously, KEY announces the oversubscribed close of a $4m seed round led by AgFunder, one of the world's most active foodtech and agtech investment funds. With additional backing from Alethia, the leading beverage VC and AgFunder SIJ Impact Fund, the round will support strategic retail distribution, inventory and marketing efforts. 

“As a former PepsiCo exec, I swore I'd never launch a beverage, as I know how tough it is to start and scale a brand. However, when I discovered the benefits of ketones, I became determined to make them accessible for all” says Co-Founder Tekla Back.

Co-Founder Karishma Thawaini adds, “The first time I tried ketones, I was blown away by the long-lasting energy, the euphoric feeling and the mental focus I felt. I cannot wait for everyone to experience KEY to tap into their full potential.” 

In contrast to sugar-laden artificial stimulant drinks, KEY is ‘unlocking an alternative source of genuine energy from ketones’, which deliver long-lasting energy instead of a sugar spike and crash. Ketones also provide dose-dependent advantages such as improved cognitive benefits, appetite suppression, metabolic health and enhanced recovery, says the brand. Additionally, unlike the synthetic ketones found in supplements today, KEY uses pure active natural ketones made using fermentation. 

KEY’s debut collection features three flavors: pineapple passionfruit, grapefruit peach and ginger lime.

In addition to launching direct-to-consumer and on Amazon, KEY will roll out their first line of beverages at select, curated retailers including celebrity-favorite Southern California health grocer Erewhon and targeted high-traffic retailers across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Hamptons.

Sweet Freedom FIZZ


UK hot chocolate, syrup and spreads company, Sweet Freedom, is expanding with a new range of sparkling waters this May, under the name Sweet Freedom FIZZ.

Available in four flavors, the drinks are free from artificial sweeteners, flavors, and refined sugar but are also low calorie and include carefully selected special ingredients to support wellbeing.

  • Lime & Mint:​ Guarana and kola nuts are both high in caffeine, offering a natural boost in energy, promoting vitality, mental focus and alertness.
  • Raspberry & Cranberry:​ Acerola fruit is rich in vitamin C which has been shown to boost immunity, support skin health, aids digestion, and provides antioxidants.
  • Mango & Mandarin:​ Schisandra berry (also known as the wonder berry) supports nervous system functioning, helping to deal with stress and increase focus.
  • Pineapple & Coconut:​ Dandelion leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals with potential anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. Baobab is rich in vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. These have been shown to support good digestion, gut health and wellbeing.

Research carried out by Sweet Freedom, with help from TRKR last year, found that 65% of people who buy carbonated soft drinks say added health benefits would make them buy more often.

Sweet Freedom also prides itself on pioneering the use of cocoa juice in the UK as a natural sweetener. Co-founder Deborah Pyner said: “Artificial sweeteners and ingredients have always been a no-go for us, and when we discovered the potential for sustainable cocoa juice as a natural sweetener, we were eager to be the first to bring it over to the UK. This is the part of the cocoa bean which usually gets discarded, so using it means the farmers we work with now get paid for an extra part of their harvest.

“The cocoa pods are collected and pressed in innovative mobile solar-powered factories to extract their light fruity juice. Then, through blockchain technology, the farmers are fairly compensated, and their beans are returned to them to continue their processing for the cocoa industry (which we use in our chocolate products).”

Thatchers Zero

Thatchers Zero Can April 248673

Thatchers Cider is releasing its top selling alcohol free cider, Thatchers Zero, in a can format for the first time.

Thatchers Zero, which is the fastest selling single bottle of all low/no ciders on the UK market, will be available in 4 x 440ml can packs in supermarkets: starting with Asda and Tesco.

The new Thatchers Zero cans join the company’s other top performing four packs; Thatchers Gold and Thatchers Blood Orange – which take the tops spots as the bestselling supermarket four packs in both the apple cider and fruit cider ranges (Circana data).

Alcohol free drinks are thriving and showing dynamic growth, currently accounting for around £304m of the take-home market and surging by 13.5% in value in the past year. ​There has also been an increase of 439,000 buyers in the same period, growing the total number of households buying no/low products to around 9 million (Kantar data).

Martin Thatcher, fourth generation cider maker, said: “The innovation reflects the increasingly aspirational nature of the alcohol free category, with low/no drinks moving from something people are sampling, to being a fridge staple.”

Crystal Head Vodka RTD

crystal head vodka

Crystal Head Vodka, part of the Infinium Spirits portfolio, is launching two cocktails in sleek, convenient cans: the Espresso Martini and the Cosmopolitan.

Crystal Head Vodka was established in 2005 out of San Diego by actor Dan Aykroyd and artist John Alexander, and the release marks the brand’s debut in the world of canned cocktails. The canned cocktail offerings boast the brand's Original vodka crafted from Canadian corn; blended with premium ingredients for a ‘perfectly balanced craft-quality cocktail experience’.

Priced at $4.99 USD a can (100ml, 20% ABV), Crystal Head Vodka’s Espresso Martini and Cosmopolitan small-batch bar-quality canned cocktails are available for purchase at major retailers in select states.

Mindful Blend

TRIP Mindful Blend Lifestyle

UK soft drink brand TRIP is launching a new drink, Mindful Blend.

The drink marks the next step for the brand’s evolution as its first foray beyond CBD drinks. Mindful Blend range combines Lion’s Mane, Magnesium, Ashwagandha and L-theanine with an infusion of nature’s botanicals.

The new functional drinks will debut with two new flavors, Cucumber Mint and Blood Orange Rosemary, alongside two of the most popular flavours from its core range, Elderflower Mint and Raspberry Orange Blossom. 

The blend aims to provide consumers with a new way to find calm through the powerful and popular health benefits of these functional ingredients, which have exploded on social media, with over 3.5 billion TikTok searches, in an accessible canned soft drink. 

The new Mindful Blend SKUs are available for purchase online at hit retailers Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods, and Ocado from next month with a RRP of £2.00.

The range will also be available in restaurants and coffee shops, including LEON outlets nationwide.

Toffee Nut coffee

coffeee toffee nut

UK coffee brand Little’s – which is on a mission to deliver ‘quality, convenience and taste that doesn’t cost the earth’ – has launched Toffee Nut Instant Coffee and Toffee Nut Coffee Pods.

The instant coffee is priced at £3.50 per 50g jar or $4 per pack of 10 Nespresso compatible capsules.

Identifying that coffee trends start in cafés, Little’s says it was only natural to launch a version of Toffee Nut to bring the coffee shop experience into the home.

“Featuring smooth and rich Arabica coffee gently infused with the taste of toffee nut, the coffee is delicious with milk or on its own, you’ll discover notes of toasted almonds and delicately sweet caramel, harmonising perfectly with your smooth pick-me-up,” says the brand. Toffee Nut can also be used to make iced coffee.

Little’s flavour-infused coffee is vegan friendly, 4kcals per cup and contains no added sugar.

The Devon-based brand opened its own capsule manufacturing facility last year, helping them bring NPD to the market faster.

Caffeine and collagen RTD


Bizzi has launched into the UK drinks market with an RTD with both caffeine and collagen.

The three varieties of cans, featuring a Signature Cold Brew Coffee Blend, a Vanilla & Turmeric product, plus a Ceremonial Grade Matcha RTD, are all designed to grab a slice of the $120.5m RTD coffee market in the UK and give consumers an easy way to weave wellness into their everyday lives.

As well as being infused with 10g of premium bovine collagen in each can, the Bizzi range also offers 100% RDA of Vitamin C and Zinc, as consumers seek food and drink products which will naturally help boost their overall wellbeing in an easy on-the-go option. Collagen products have seen a surge in the past few years in the UK market as well as being a fast-growing category globally.

With her background as a Broadway performer (including performances in Cats and Chicago) and the force behind flagship fitness boutique gym, Define London, US entrepreneur Ashley Verma launches Bizzi to the UK trade at the Food & Drink Expo in Birmingham this week.

Related topics Retail & shopper insights

Related news

Show more

Follow us


View more